My visit to Thenur, like Senthil loved to put it time and again, was more a dawn of a relation with Payir and the people there, than a mere volunteering activity. And I suppose that is exactly what I ended up making it... I have wonderful memories of the place, listing all of which will be quite literally impossible. But I do have a few words to say about those extraordinary people... Let me mention here that there are many many more people I should be listing and that the I am not doing justice to a whole lot of people by not taking their names here. These people are the first few I would want to speak about, though...
For the refreshing company they offered me, the endless chats we shared, for the visits they accompanied me on, for all their time and patience with me, I thank Saroja and Karthi. I learnt more about art from them than I could ever hope to teach them.
For those sweaty mornings we spent working together on cataloging, her sweet way of humming while we were at it, I shall remember Then. I hope the kids still adore her like they did when I was there, and I hope they don't test her patience as much!
For all those fresh conversations laced with a rustic wit, for all the profound knowledge about various fields that he imparted to me, I shall remember Ponnudurai Sir. I hope his daughter, Ahalya, is doing fine and that his wife's scanning has shown good results...
For all those evenings that I spent running behind her, I shall remember my first ever cycle student... I hope Mallika is doing good. Tell her I want my ride with her, as a pillion, on her cycle the next time I visit!
For those evenings that we spent scraping the violin, the guffaws we shared about extinct species, the little nothings in our evenings, the delicious parting lunch that she and her mum prepared for us, the pleasant and patient, the haunting trademark smile of hers, I shall remember Mythili. I hope this multi-faceted lady has been practicing sketching. Have you, Mythili?
To all those refreshing coffees that she took special efforts to brew just for me, to all those mouth watering dishes she indulged me with, to all the motherly love and affection that she gave me... I shall forever remain indebted to Jayamma. I hope she has learnt to sign her name right now. Somebody please tell her I miss the coffees' she used to brew me in the kitchen, after freshly cleaning the place with cow-dung-mixed-water!
To those endless engaging conversations that captured my days effortlessly, to all those narration filled evenings that seemed ever too short for me to let go, to all the borrowed eccentricities that I can add to my own character henceforth, to all those enthusiastic pursuits that he set me unto, to all the glorious moments that he managed to spare for me despite his time being too expensive to be spent on trifles like me, to have taught me just about every lesson that I have learnt during my stay there and for opening my vision to capture new perspectives of life that I had never seen existing before... to all of these and much more, I can barely thank Senthil enough. He is 'THE' magic charm behind Payir... the wonderful man who can ceaselessly manage to keep you in awe of him!
Besides, I hope Senthil (NOT the founder!) Sir's daughter is doing good. Manoharan Sir, I hope he is not as busy as Senthil usually keeps him! Gajendran Sir, I hope he has been hunting as much as he likes. I hope Soubhagyam Ma'am and Selvaraj Sirare keeping well... And, how are the folks in the Chutti school and the BPO?
I can only wish they're all keeping well... and that I shall!